< DadBodfi >
Crack a Beer. Crack a Joke. Crack the code to Financial Independence.
Beer Review - Guinness Draught - Guinness Brewery, Ireland
It's officially Guinness Season. The only time of the year that I drink Guinness is when the temperature drops below 50 during the holiday season. There is something about coming home from a family walk after being all bundled up and enjoying one of these. I love the experience of pouring the tall can into a pint glass, hearing the that nitrogen filled capsule roll around, and watching the light brown color turn dark as the beer settles. It's all about the experience. Official Score (During Winter): 9/10
in-sourc-ing (noun) - Doing shit on your own rather than overpaying someone to do said shit
(Official DadBodFI Definition)
Insourcing is one of the staples in the financial independence community. After all, we do not say financial "dependence". Since I have started my path to FI, I have done everything in my power to mitigate expenses. This includes the monthly necessities like groceries and utilities - but also the variables such as unexpected home repairs or projects.
The picture above was taken after my wife and I redid our staircase. When we first moved into the home, the stairs had an olive green, floral design, plush carpet. It was the first thing you saw when you walked into our home. We knew we needed a change. After researching flooring contractors and looking at pricing for such a task, we decided to try it on our own. We have always loved doing smaller projects together but nothing on this type of scale.
We put the kids down one night and got to work. First we used utility knives to rip up the olive carpet. Under that beauty was hardwood with no less that 200 staples that a trusty pair of pliers pulled. Then we took a palm sander to smooth the surface and filled the gaps with expansion foam. We applied a few layers of paint and some anti- slip additive. Our finished product looked amazing and we had done this all on our own. This project taught us four main benefits of incourcing:
1. COST SAVINGS - This is quite obvious. You will spend substantially less when you do something on your own. There are no labor costs, just materials. Go check your last plumbing bill. They charge around $200 an hour for parts/labor. In 2017 I paid $227 to have my shower cartridge replaced. This year I did my own for a total cost of $12.
2. QUALITY TIME - As I mentioned earlier, my wife and I enjoy doing projects together. We interact much more when we are building a table vs. watching Netflix. My son is even starting to help my with small projects.
3. KNOWLEDGE - This is priceless. Once you master a household task, you will own that skill forever. Every time I complete a new project or fix, I add it to my list. By the way, you can find ANYTHING on YouTube these days, so there is no excuse for not knowing.
4. SENSE OF PRIDE - I cannot help but feel a sense of accomplishment when I do something on my own. Even if I build something that looks terrible or fix something that should be thrown away, I feel still good about it. A small reminder that you can really do anything if you work at it.
Now we insource whatever we can and we're saving a TON of money. Here's a small sample of what we saved recently:
So before you call someone for a quote on your next leaky sink repair or deck addition, try it yourself. You'll be happy you did.
It's official, we are more than halfway through the college and NFL football season and I have not paid one penny to watch any game I've wanted. Again- I have had zero cable expense since July. My wife has been able to watch her favorite shows and my kids have been able to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings.
I am able to do this by the aforementioned strategy of Trial Hacking. Basically I sign up for a free trial of streaming service, set a reminder on my google calendar to cancel, and I am never charged for the service. Some trials are 7 days long while others are as long as 30. We have multiple email addresses in our household and because we are combining this with Travel Hacking, we have no shortage of credit cards to use.
This all started when my wife and I made a bet. If I could go a season without paying for NFL Direct TV Sunday ticket (now up to around $300), she would be fine without her Real Housewives. We have been going strong for over 4 months.
Overall, as long as you are diligent with your calendar and don't mind taking 5 seconds out of your day to log-on and cancel your trial, this is a strategy that works. Simply sign up when you know you have programs that you want to watch (football, reality TV) and cancel when you're done. I like this strategy because it also eliminates the idea of "channel surfing", or just sitting down to watch TV because you have it. Go read a book or talk a walk instead.
Here is a list on the streaming services I've used, in no order:
Hulu Live TV
Additional non-cable trials:
Amazon Audible - 30 Days Free and 2 Free Books
Netflix DVDs - 30 Days Free with 2 DVDs at a Time
Amazon Music - 30 Days Free Unlimited Music
Sirius XM Radio - 2 months Free
This past Monday sucked. I woke up around 3 AM and instantly started to think about the work trip I would be embarking on in a few short hours. I thought about having to leave my wife and kids at home and how much I would miss them. I thought about how she would be taking on the arduous task of 2 kids vs. 1 parent over the next 72 hours and how exhausted she would be. I thought about missing my favorite part of the week, where I get to pick my son up from school. I thought about the meetings I had lined up and the pressure to execute. I thought about the long drive and the hotel sleeping arrangements. But this was life right? Every working American deals with this type of anxiety? Later on as I said good-bye to my son before school, it hit me. I actually held back a tear for the first time in a while as I did not want him to see me upset. I was completely bummed.
I arrived at my hotel that evening and my wife called me. Low and behold she was at an urgent care clinic with the kids. My older son had gotten his fingers jammed in the car door like every other kid has done in his/her life. She had everything under control as always and my son was fine. However shes knows me so well that she actually waited until my son stopped crying to call me. She knew if I had heard him screaming on the way to the clinic I would have hopped back in my car and drove 5 hours straight back home. As she calmly told me what was going on, I realized there was nothing I could do and that this could happen anytime, anywhere. I couldn't help but feel helpless.
The day before this was excellent. My in-laws were in town visiting which is always fun (yes I actually get along very well with my in-laws). We took a family outing to the mall to meet Santa and ride the trolley. We watched ICE AGE and then had a dance party in the kitchen (Free Trial from Amazon Music). To cap off the night, my father-in-law showed me a recent method he had learned for cooking the greatest steak of all time (recipe below) and we enjoyed a couple bottles of fine wine.
How could my stress level change so drastically in less than 12 hours? I enjoy my job for the most part and I work for a good company. They take care of me and I put relentless effort into the grind every day. It has plenty of perks - company car, travel reward points, no 9-5 office computer work. However - find me any human who would rather be working away from his family for one extra second rather than spinning his kids around to Justin Timberlake and I will show you a liar.
I always try to find the positives in negative situations. Monday dealt me the favor of confirming the decision I have to made to slash my expenses, pay off debt, and increase my savings rate to pursue financial independence. If I can cut the number of Sunday Scaries by 20, 10, or even 5 years, it will be worth every second. The time we have with the people we love is too short to take for granted and I'm going to do everything I can to maximize it.
Cast Iron Skillet Steaks -